Friday, April 27, 2007

It's my party and I'll muse if I want to

Today I was shopping at the local dollar store for paper plates for the book launch party, which is in only a few days. There were bright yellow or blue ones, and then there were fancy ones, black with "Happy Birthday" in swirly type on them. I almost bought those, because on Tuesday May 1st we are celebrating not only the extremely protracted arrival of my book but also my great-grandfather's 154th birthday. The birthday plates were much more expensive, however, and knowing my great-grandfather, he would have objected to the extravagance. So plain plates it will be, but the thought is there.

It's funny that I write "knowing my great-grandfather" though he died in 1909 and I, contrary to my childrens' suspicions, was born some decades after that. Jacob Gordin and I have spent so much time together over the years that I do know him. And also, in many ways he was a lot like my dad, whom I certainly knew, and who wouldn't have noticed the plates at all because he would be too busy eating whatever was on them.

He would have loved the book launch, loved all the Russian food my daughter and I bought today, and the fact that his dark-eyed granddaughter is going to prepare it, mountains of sour cream and all. My mother and her sister, who are in their eighties, are coming to Toronto for this event, and so are several far-flung friends. Other friends have been calling, sending emails and notes, even funny email cards with music and animated dogs. So many people are happy for me. Something new has arrived in the world, and everyone who knows me understands how much that matters to me. And in a way matters to them too; when each of us achieves something after a long struggle, we all do too.


  1. Hi Beth,
    I just wrote you a very long letter and somehow lost it when I was ready to send it, so I will write to you tomorrow. I do not want what I have to say to be published on your blog.
    I am Caryl Gordin Solomon's daughter and Jacob Gordin is also my great grandfather.
    My son was born 2 months after Aunt Gertrude ( whom I adored ) died, and I named him Jacob Gordin Jopling. I also kept in touch with Aunt Helen until her death and she hated that we called our son "Jake" instead of Jacob or Gordin.
    I wrote a lot and now I am out of steam. I am disappointed that I lost the comments about your book and our connection.
    Could you send me your e-mail address. I would prefer to speak with you and not share it until you read what I wrote.
    Peggy Solomon Jopling ( your cousin )

  2. your grand father sounds like a simple man and it was a good choice to keep his party simple as he would have preferred that way. what a nice way to honor his memory. you are amazing. keep writing